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magnificence, and his manners. He possessed a natural elegance, taste, and sweetness of disposition, which made him attractive not only to the eyes but to the minds of those with whom he came in contact, and he also possessed a tact which was more valuable than genius. It is said that no one has ever surpassed the Earl in the splendour of his entertainments and the costliness of his dress. In 1616, when he was sent to France to congratulate the King upon his marriage with the Infanta of Spain, the whole of Paris turned out to see him enter the city, his magnificence was so great, one illustration of this being that the horse he rode was lightly shod with silver shoes, and that it, "prancing and curvetting, in humble reverence, flung his shoes away, which the greedy bystanders scrambled for"; and the Earl was content to be gazed on and admired till the farrier, or rather the argentier, in one of his rich liveries, came from among his train of footmen, and, taking other shoes out of a tawny velvet bag, put them on-to last until the Earl came to the next troop of grandees; and thus he reached the Louvre.
"One of the meanest of his suits was so fine as to look like romance," says Arthur Wilson, who describes it as made of white beaver embroidered all over in gold and silver. As for his hospitality, it was as fantastic as that of Heliogabalus, and, I should imagine, scarcely less murderous. For we read of a pie devoured by one man, the making of which had cost £10, it being composed of ambergrease, magisterial of pearl, musk, and other strange but costly ingredients. It is not to be wondered at that the consumer was sick all the night afterwards. Of one of his marvellous banquets it is told that it had to be postponed until dishes were made large enough to hold the immense fishes-probably sturgeon-" which had
The Coming of the Beaux
been brought out of Muscovy," and we have a hint that the fish were not quite so fresh as they might have been. In his last illness in 1636, he had "divers brave clothes made "to outface naked and despicable death withal."
But the history of the Beaux begins in truth with the Restoration, for after coming into his own again Charles drew around him men as light and reckless as himself. Some had travelled with him in his wanderings, sharing his good and evil fortunes; others came to his side drawn by the hope that estates, offices, and wealth might be theirs ; others, again, were the satellites of these as these were satellites of the King. These young men lived in an age when velvets, silks, ribbons, and jewels belonged as much to them as to the women, and they would voluntarily have lived for ever in obscurity wanting their fine clothes. "Clothes, from the King's mantle downward, are emblematic, not of want only, but of a manifold cunning Victory over Want." Indeed these men would have sold their last acre and their only roof rather than be behind the fashion in their dress, and many of them most certainly sold more than that, for they sold the happiness of their families and the stability of their tradesmen.
In such a court as that of Charles, wit as well as clothes was an essential. To laugh and to make others laugh was a necessary part of the day's routine, so those who had wit used it, those who had not cultivated it in any way that occurred to them-studied, borrowed, or stole it. Thus it is that many of the Beaux were Wits who wrote dramas for those theatres which quickly sprang up with Charles's return, and many of the Wits became Beaux because their talents carried them into the company of such. So we have such a list of names, showing a mixture of many stations, as Killigrew, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, Sir George or "Beau" Hewitt,
Lord Dorset, De Grammont, Sir Charles Sedley, the Earl of Rochester, Beau Wilson, Beau Feilding, and William Congreve.
Of these the title "Beau" is definitely attached only to three, and naturally enough of these we have least knowledge, for, being Beaux in the most real sense of the word, no one troubled to write about them or make any record of their deeds. They took naturally to finery, and lived for appearance; they were neither poets, statesmen, courtiers, useful members of society, nor even great knaves, so they had their day and disappeared. Of Feilding we know much more than of Hewitt and Wilson. The Tatler devoted two essays to him; and one of his many excursions into matrimony was made with a connection of Swift's, while another caused a lawsuit.
Beau Hewitt was an Irish Viscount, from whom Sir Fopling Flutter was drawn by "gentle George," though Etherege's contemporaries declared that Flutter was Etherege himself. Hewitt has the credit of having been the first to replace an emphatic " damn me" by a languid "dammee," which a century later became "demme." He is mentioned by Dryden :
So strut, look big, shake pantaloon, and swear,
Beau Wilson was a mystery, even in his own day. He served in Flanders and was dismissed for cowardice, coming back to England with two guineas in his pocket. In a short time, however, he set up a large establishment, kept a perfect table, possessed horses and carriages, and dressed his part to perfection. He never told whence came his wealth, and was suspected of having stolen diamonds, of holding the philosopher's stone, and of many other strange methods of raising money. Fourteen years after his death
a letter was published in an appendix to the second edition of "Memoirs of the Court of England in the reign of Charles II.," which pretended to tell how Beau Wilson got his wealth. It was said that Elizabeth Villiers, mistress of William III., and later Countess of Orkney, made assignations with him, hiding her identity from him by arranging meetings to take place in darkness. This connection was terminated by his own curiosity, for while still a young man he was forced into a quarrel by a Scotchman, John Law, the financier, who is said to have run Wilson through before he could draw his sword. Law was sentenced to death for murder, but his punishment was commuted to a fine. The Wilson family again charged him with murder at the King's Bench, and this time he escaped by filing his prison bars. In the letter spoken of above the suggestion is, that Wilson became too inquisitive as to his fair visitor and benefactor, and so she arranged with John Law for his death, and managed Law's escape afterwards, giving him a large sum of money. Harrison Ainsworth has used these incidents in his " John Law, the Projector."
There is yet another Beau of the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century of whom practically nothing is known except that he belonged to the Edgworth family, ancestor perhaps of the thriftless father of Maria Edgworth. Steele, who was probably his friend, wrote of him in The Tatler: "There is a very handsome, well-shaped youth, that frequents the coffee houses about Charing Cross, and ties a very pretty ribbon with a cross of jewels at his heart.' He died in Dublin, insane.
Of those possessing talents or ability as well as a love of dress, the man who seems almost to be the initiator of the careless, reckless company of Beaux is Thomas Killigrew. He was born in 1611, remained attached to
Charles all through his exile, and was faithful to him i England afterwards, until his death in 1682-3. Courtier dramatist, wit, and Beau, Thomas Killigrew was the so of Sir Robert Killigrew, who, as an amateur concocte of drugs, was said to have supplied the powder which caused the death of Sir Thomas Overbury; a charge which was disproved at the trial. As a boy Thomas was so devoted to the stage that Pepys tells us he would hang about the door of the Red Bull, and eagerly volunteer if the manager wanted boys to personate devils or any other harmless character, that he might in this way see the piece. At ten years old he became page to Charles I., and from that time remained connected with the Stuarts. At the Phoenix, otherwise the Cockpit, in Drury Lane, two of Killigrew's plays were performed before 1636, the Prisoners and Claracilla; while The Parson's Wedding was written in Switzerland at a time when plays and players had been chased from London by the Civil War.
Though the Parliament committed him to the King's Bench for taking up arms for the King, he was successful in getting a release; and in 1647 joined Prince Charles in his wanderings in Europe. Charles II. sent him to Venice as Resident, but the Venetians returned him in a year, wearied with his clever methods of extracting money for himself and his royal master, and more than wearied of his licentious ways. At the instance of the Venetian Ambassador at Paris, Charles recalled his friend, upon which event Sir John Denham wrote:
Our resident Tom
From Venice is come
And has left all the statesmen behind him;
Talks at the same pitch,
Is as wise, is as rich,
And just where you left him you find him.